Google Trends - math is on the way down

By Murray Bourne, 21 May 2006

Statistics are always intriguing - and Internet trends are particularly so.

Google Trends is very interesting. It aims to show search trends and the relative interest for search terms in different cities, countries and languages. It is still in beta and they have disclaimers about its reliability.

I tried "mathematics" . It appears that the interest in searching for mathematics is trending down. It is very interesting that the US does not appear in the top 10. What does appear is equally interesting - Phillipines, Pakistan and India are in the top 3. It means that out of the total volume of searches, these 3 countries are comparatively more interested in searching for "mathematics" than other countries. Singapore is number 6.

Not surprisingly, there were big dips in interest over Christmas in 2004 and 2005.

My questions:

• The top 10 cities listed do not include any from the Phillipines, yet that country is the top region and Tagalog is way out in front as top language. This doesn't make a lot of sense.
• If you choose USA only, US cities show up but English is the only language being used. That is highly unlikely. (For Singapore only, it shows Chinese and English - at least that makes some sense and for Canada, Chinese is the main language, followed by English and French - that also makes sense.)

The Australian result shows Townsville (in north Queensland) as the biggest relative searcher of mathematics:
1. Townsville Australia
2. Newcastle Australia
3. Wollongong Australia
4. Canberra Australia

Google Trends is an interesting tool and one that educators should watch. It reminds me of Technorati charts (which are no longer available). I wrote about them in Why the surge of interest in math?

3 Comments on “Google Trends - math is on the way down”

1. Alan Cooper says:

One is that the Language, City and Region category ratings are relative to category total. So, since the overall numbers for Tagalog will be tiny, the high rating for Tagalog relative to Phillipine geographic categories could be as a result of just one rural school district making a point of encouraging Google searches for educational subject purposes.

The other is that you will see substantially different patterns for "math". Apparently the relaxed informality of life and language here in Vancouver does not imply a lack of interest in our subject.
cheers,
Alan

2. Simon says:

If you try "maths" the United Kingdom comes out on top. Similarly if you try "math", Canada and the US appear.

3. Jacky Peng says:

For people in China, they tend to use Baidu.com to search "maths" 数学. Baidu.com is the most popular search engine in China and I feel it is more accurate to use Baidu than Google in Chinese keyword search.

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